Under welcome sunshine and blue skies, racing resumed at Santa Anita Saturday after heavy week-long rains forced cancellation of live racing Monday, Thursday and Friday. Thanks to the tireless efforts of track superintendent Richard Tedesco and his crew, the absence of training on the Pro-Ride main track did not cause major scheduling alterations for most local horsemen.

“I didn’t even take Lookin At Lucky to the track,” said the meet’s leading trainer, Bob Baffert, of his latest Eclipse Award winner. “But other horses were on the (dirt) training track. I’ve run a lot of horses (47, winning with 11) the first couple of weeks, so they’re pretty fit and a little time off didn’t hurt them at all. The ones that are running in a couple weeks, I shipped to Hollywood (to train).”

“It didn’t affect me too much,” said trainer David Hofmans. “We did a lot of jogging and tack-walking. It wasn’t too bad. The horses probably really enjoyed it.”

Martin Pedroza gave the surface his endorsement after exercising several horses over it Saturday morning. “It feels good to me,” the veteran jockey said. “It’s a little heavy, but it feels good. It was firm and I didn’t have a horse bobble, stumble or take a bad step.”

Added trainer Dan Hendricks: “We knew the rain was coming for a week, so I think most of us got a lot of works and races in right before it happened. We’re going to start working tomorrow, so you’re looking at an extra day or two or three . . . so I don’t think it’s that bad. We’re back on it today and we’ll be working tomorrow, so as bad as the rains were, I think we made it through pretty good.”

Tedesco said eight inches of rain pelted the track since late Sunday night. “We started working on the track last Monday at one in the morning and went from there,” he said. Told Santa Anita President Ron Charles referred to Tedesco as a “hero” for his efforts, he dismissed the praise, at least at the moment.

“Call me that in April,” Tedesco said, laughing. “I’ve got a long meet ahead of me.” Santa Anita’s winter/spring meet ends on April 18.


Papa Clem, winner of the Grade II San Fernando Stakes on Jan. 16 and a candidate for the Grade I $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino on March 6, has been retired, trainer Gary Stute said Saturday.

“He’s had a little problem off and on with his (left) ankle, so after the San Fernando, it filled,” Stute said. “He never was lame, but when I X-rayed it, my veterinarian said a big part of the sesamoid had eroded away, so I’m turning him out.

“It’s heart-breaking news, but Bo (owner/breeder Bo Hirsch) took it well. He felt worse for me than he did for himself. I told Bo if the horse was mine, I’d stand him in California this year, because this late (in the breeding season), you’re not going to get that many mares in Kentucky. They book way in advance. But they don’t book that far in advance in California, and the important thing to me is to get as many foals on the ground as you can. In California, our top sires are 19 or 20, so it’s a good time to stand a horse.”

Papa Clem, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred bay colt by Smart Strike, retired with a 3-2-2 record from 13 starts, with earnings of $1,121,190.


Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) will hold an industry summit on Saturday, Feb. 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Baldwin Terrace Conference Room at Santa Anita. The summit is the result of requests from TOC members at the 2009 annual meetings for a mid-winter session to address some of their most pressing concerns about the future of California racing.

Three subjects of most concern will be covered: California’s satellite wagering system, the year-round racing calendar, and track surfaces. The format will feature panels of industry leaders discussing the issues and answering questions from the audience.

Panelists will include Craig Fravel and Tom Robbins of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Ron Charles and George Haines of Santa Anita, Robert Hartman of Golden Gate Fields, Chris Korby of CARF, Tom Varela of SCOTWINC, Dr. Rick Arthur of CHRB, trainers John Sadler and Kathy Walsh, and jockey Garret Gomez.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the TOC office at (626) 574-6620.

FINISH LINES: Jockey Chantal Sutherland, who won two Grade II stakes at Santa Anita last weekend, is one of three finalists for a Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding jockey of 2009. Sutherland, who rides at Woodbine in Canada and in Southern California, registered her first graded stakes win at Santa Anita with Amen Hallelujah in Saturday’s Santa Ynez Stakes, followed by a $61.40 upset on Pretty Unusual in Sunday’s Grade II El Encino Stakes. A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sutherland earned Sovereign Awards as Canada’s outstanding apprentice jockey in 2001 and 2002. The other Sovereign finalists are Eurico DaSilva and Patrick Husbands. The awards will be presented on Jan. 29 . . . HRTV’s Millie Ball and Kurt Hoover will be Jack Disney’s guests at Sunday’s Fan’s Forum, 11:15 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Starting with Saturday’s races, there were 27 contestants alive in ShowVivor.